From Gin Punch to Collins – Part 5: The Garrick Club Punch

Stephen Price - Titelbild.

As the predecessor of the Collins, the Gin Punch, which originated at the Garrick Club, must be considered. When was it created, why was it a novelty, and who invented it?

The Garrick Club in London is of great importance for the development of the Collins. A modified gin punch was served there in the mid-1830s, which formed the basis for the Collins. We follow David Wondrich’s suggestion and call this gin punch the Garrick Club Punch. [1-202] [1-203]

The Garrick Club Punch

The Original, 7. October 1835, page 323
The Original, 7. October 1835, page 323. [5-323]

Thomas Walker was an English lawyer, police officer and author. In the magazine he edited, “The Original”, he mentions how enjoyable an iced punch is in summer: “Cider cup lemonade, and iced punch in summer, and hot in winter, are all worthy of their turns; but I do not think turns come so often as they ought to do. We go on the beaten track without profiting by the varieties which are to be found on every side.” [5-323]

From Thomas Walker’s statement we can deduce that in the 1830s an iced punch was something people liked to drink. At the same time, it seems that it was not yet available everywhere, that it was something novel, because it is described as something to be found outside the beaten track. The novel Punch from the Garrick Club is also to be found on these paths, because it uses soda water.

The Quarterly Review, February 1836, page 472, 473.
The Quarterly Review, February 1836, page 472, 473. [3-472] [3-473]

An article appeared in The Quarterly Review in February 1836, quoting and then commenting on an article in “The Original”. Not only are we informed that a gin punch is served at the Garrick Club, but the recipe for it is supplied and the inventor of the same is given. [1-205] It states: “Instead of icing punch, the preferable mode is to mix it with a proportion of iced soda-water. * The gin punch made on this principle at the Garrick Club is one of the best things we know, and we gladly take this opportunity of assigning the honour of the invention to the rightful patentee, Mr. Stephen Price, an American gentleman, well known in the theatrical circles and on the turf. His title has been much disputed – Grammatici certant et adhuc sub judice lis est – and many, misled by Mr. Theodore Hook’s frequent and liberal application of the discovery, are in the habbit of ascribing it to him. But Mr. Thomas Hill, the celebrated ‘trecentenarian’ of a popular song, who was present at Mr. Hook’s first introduction to the beverage, has set the matter at rest by a brief narration of the circumstances. One hot afternoon in July last, the inimitable author of ‘Sayings and Doings’ (what a book might be made of his own!) strolled into the Garrick in that equivocal state of thirstiness which requires something more than common to quench. On describing the sensation, he was recommended to make trial of the punch, and a jug was compounded immediately under the personal inspiration of Mr. Price. A second followed – a third, with the accompainment of some chops – a fourth – a fifth – a sixth – at the expiration of which Mr. Hook went away to keep a dinner engagement at Lord Canterbury’s. He always eats little, on this occasion he ate less, and Mr. Horace Twiss inquired in a fitting tone of anxiety if he was ill. ‘Not exactly,’ was the reply; ‘but my stomach won’t bear trifling with, and I was tempted to take a biscuit and a glass of sherry about three.
* Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little lemon-juice, sugar, a glass of Maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda-water. The result will be three pints of the punch in question.” [3-472]

This article appeared in parallel in a modified form in “The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction” on 20 February 1836. [40-125]

The significance of the Garrick Club Punch

This is the first reference to the use of soda water in a punch, and unmistakably the Garrick Club Punch is very similar to a Collins, one can consider it its predecessor. So if you want to understand the history of the Collins better, you also have to study the history of the Garrick Club Punch in detail. In the following, let us first deal with the Garrick Club and then with the individual persons mentioned, such as Stephen Price, Theodore Hook and Thomas Hill.

The Garrick Club

Augustus Frederic, Duke of Sussex.
Augustus Frederic, Duke of Sussex. [45]

The Garrick Club was founded in 1831 at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane under the auspices of Duke Augustus Frederick, brother of King William IV, as the Gentlemen’s Club. This makes it one of the oldest clubs in the world. At a time when actors were generally not considered respectable members of society, it was intended to be a place where actors, writers, other artists and cultured men could meet in order to “contribute to the regeneration of the drama”. The criteria for admission are and were strict. New candidates must be proposed by a member, then admission is voted on in a secret ballot on the principle „that it would be better that ten unobjectionable men should be excluded than one terrible bore should be admitted“.

The club was named after David Garrick. Under his leadership, the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane had become representative of the Golden Age of British drama. Six months after the founding meeting, members had been selected and a clubhouse had been found and furnished at 35 King Street, Covent Garden. It was opened on 1 February 1832. The clubhouse soon became too small, and in 1864 they moved to a newly built clubhouse in nearby Garrick Street. The list of members reads like a Who’s Who of 1832, including numerous barons, counts, dukes, earls and lords, as well as members of the military, parliamentarians and judges. Many famous actors, authors and painters were members, including for example Charles Dickens, H. G. Wells and A. A. Milne. [17] [18] [41-285]

Stephen Price

Stephen Price, 1836.
Stephen Price, 1836. [15]

Stephen Price was born in New York City on 25 September 1782 and died there on 20 January 1840. He graduated from Columbia College in 1799 and began working as a lawyer in New York City in 1804. However, he changed his profession after five years. In 1808, he bought shares in the Park Theatre, which was in financial trouble, and took over the management of the theatre. He held this position for 31 years. [1-205] [6]

The Park Theatre in Manhattan

First Park Theatre, 1796.
First Park Theatre, 1796. [11]

The Park Theatre in Manhattan was originally known as the New Theatre and opened in 1798. Although it had little competition in its early years, it rarely turned a profit and in 1805 the theatre was sold. After Stephen Price acquired a controlling interest, he became the theatre’s general manager in 1808. The first theatre burned down in 1820 and reopened in 1821. [1-205] [6] [10]

Second Park Theatre, 1830.
Second Park Theatre, 1830. [12]

In the 1810s and 1820s, the Park Theatre experienced its most successful period. It was considered a top-class theatre. In the 1820s, competition arose from the Bowery Theatre and Chatham Garden, but the Park Theatre maintained its first-class reputation until it burned down in 1848. [1-205] [6] [10]

Theatre Royal in Drury Lane

After the end of the British-American War in 1815, [7] Stephen Price travelled regularly to London and spent much time in England. Between 1826 and 1830 he ran the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, London. [1-206] [6] [10] [38-41]

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1828.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1828. [13]

The Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, commonly known as Drury Lane, is located in Covent Garden, London. It opened in 1663 and is now the oldest theatre in London still in use. For the first two hundred years of its existence, it was one of London’s leading theatres. The fourth building, which still exists today, was opened after a fire on 10 October 1812 and seats about 2200 spectators. [8] [9]

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1842.
Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1842. [14]

By running the Theatre Royals, Stephen Price secured a virtual monopoly on the supply of English stage stars to American stages. He hired them not only to play English dramas at the Park Theatre but also to play English dramas in theatres in other American cities on tours. [1-206] [6] [10] We are told in 1829 that he ran the Theatre Royal with great success. [33-266]

At the Garrick Club

In 1831, Stephen Price was hired as manager of the Garrick Club. [1-206] [38-41] David Wondrich says that it is not understandable why Stephen Price, of all people, held this position, because for him Stephen Price was not necessarily a person who would seem suitable for the Garrick Club. He was neither a highly educated man nor a professor with very refined tastes. Likewise, he would have relentlessly peppered his conversation with crude and highly reprehensible remarks. He was also irritable, perceptive, harsh and bossy. [1-206]

Letter to George Hillard. London, 16. November 1838.
Letter to George Hillard. London, 16. November 1838. [42-14]

But at least, says David Wondrich, he would have known how to make a gin punch. He was famous in New York for drinking “gin with water” and for complaining that the glasses were too small, so he had to refill them too often. [1-206] Unfortunately, he does not give a source for this. Perhaps he is referring to a letter written in London on 16 November 1838? This states: “I have been in town only a few days; I first dined at the Garrick Club, where was … Stephen Price sipping his gin and water”. [42-14]

The Theatrical Relics For Sale. New York Press, 17. April 1910, page 5.
The Theatrical Relics For Sale. New York Press, 17. April 1910, page 5. [29]

Apparently, however, he also draws his information from The New York Press of 17 April 1910, where it is written: “Theatrical Relics for Sale. Will Be Offered at Auction at Actors’ Fund Fair. … The gin goblet which Stephen Price, one of the famous managers of the first half of the nineteenth century, used will be sold at auction. Price would call evenings at the theatre of the elder Wallack and sip gin and water until midnight. He always complained that the glasses were too small and that he had to fill them too often. Wallack had a huge glass goblet holding over a quart made expressly for him. Although the goblet was made in 1838, it has not a crack or nick in it.” [29]

Apart from these two sources, we could not find anything suitable. So it is by no means the case that Stephen Price already drank his “Gin and Water” in New York and was therefore known for it in that city. Rather, both sources confirm that he did not drink this beverage in New York, but in London, as early as 1838, when James E. Wallack was his agent in Drury Lane.

Whether “Gin and Water” was already the Garrick Club Punch, or whether it was really just gin with water, and its water was actually soda water, can no longer be determined. However, since Stephen Price’s punch recipe had been published three years earlier, it is safe to assume that “Gin and Water” may have been his punch.

Stephen Price returned to New York in 1838 and died in 1840. [1-207]

Stephen Price’s character

At this point, we would like to talk again about Stephen Price’s character. The description given by David Wondrich suggests bad things. However, if we look more closely at the sources that have come down to us, a somewhat different picture emerges. That of an absolutely honest, reliable and honourable gentleman who enjoyed food and drink, as well as the company of educated people, and who was always up for a joke. In no way was he a terrible bore. He had also contributed significantly to the regeneration of English drama – as head of Drury Lane and also by staging English dramas in the United States. Thus he fulfilled all the conditions for admission to the Garrick Club and was ideally suited for it.

But let us turn to the descriptions that have come down to us, for they truly give an authentic picture of his character. Let’s start with the obituary.


The Literary Gazette, 15. February 1840. Page 108-109.
The Literary Gazette, 15. February 1840. Page 108-109. [30-108] [30-109]

In einem Nachruf für Stephen Price in der Literary Gazette heißt es: “BIOGRAPHY. Stephen Price, Esq. – We have to record, with much regret, the sudden death of this gentleman, at New York, on the 20th of January. Quinsy is stated to have been the cause of this fatal event. Few individuals were more generally known than Mr. Price, either in America or England. In the former country he was for thirty years the enterprising proprietor of the Park Theatre, and, in the latter, he was, for a while, the lessee of Drury Lane, where he lost much money. He afterwards recovered himself, and occupied an important station in the theatrical world, and living much in the society of literacy and intelligent men. But we fear that latterly the pressure upon stage concerns again affected his prosperity to a certain degree; and he left England to superintend his concerns at New York, where a strong opposition had been gotten up against him. Mr. Price possessed an astute mind, and much information on most of the subjects which interest the public. Of a sanguine temperament, he was somewhat rough in manners; but within the external husk there was a kernel of heart and feeling, from which sprung many instances of kindness and generosity that did honour to is nature.” [30-108] [30-109]

This is an interesting contribution, because it paints a somewhat different picture of Stephen Price than the one David Wondrich has been reporting. With his jovial disposition, Stephen Price may have said many things freely without caring too much about conventions, was probably regularly perceived as rude as a result (remember, Germans are also often called rude because they say many things far too directly), but always showed his inherent kindness and generosity.

The Ladies' Companion. New York, February 1840.
The Ladies’ Companion. New York, February 1840. [31-200]

The obituary in The Ladies Companion also paints a similar picture, describing Stephen Price as a completely honest man:- “STEPHEN PRICE, Esq. – In the sudden death of the senior manager of the Park Theatre, the drama in this country has lost one of its pioneers. Mr. Price had been, for upwards of thirty years, we believe, a manager of the Park; and the public probably owe to his energy and activity in the conduct of the establishment, the gratification experienced from the talents of many of the most prominent artists of past years. It matters not that his personal interest demanded such effort. Shakespeare wrote for bread – but his works are not the less treasured and immortal; and this consideration should, and, doubtless, does enhance the respect for the departed. Mr. Price was, whatever may have been his peculiar failings of character, a strictly honest man – whose word needed no bond to secure it; so admirable a trait, that in remembrance of it, many a weakness is buried in oblivion.” [31-200]

About his honourableness

Francis Courtney Wemyss: Theatrical Biography, Glasgow 1848, page 79.
Francis Courtney Wemyss: Theatrical Biography, Glasgow 1848, page 79. [32-79]

A description published in 1848 tells us more about his honourability and character: “STEPHEN PRICE. … He was a bon vivant, a glorious companion over a bottle of champagne, an excellent friend, a good manager, in business a man of honour, although a strict disciplinarian. After directing for years with profit and success the destiny of the theatres in the New World, he … seized the helm of Drury Lane for one season, sustaining himself in London against all the odds that could be brought to bear upon him. But the speculation was eventually ruinous to his fortune, but not his credit: the honourable manner in which he paid the demands of his creditors, with a legal discharge in his pocket, ought to have secured him a better reception from his dellow-citizens than he received in New York, upon his return to his native country.” [32-79]

Details of Stephen Price’s takeover of the Theatre Royal are given in the Gentleman’s Magazine of 1839, including the settlement of the claims just mentioned. Several bidders had submitted offers but were not accepted by the Theatre’s sub-committee. Stephen Price was also rejected, and the management was handed over to Thomas Bish, who had previously made his money in lottery business. The latter was persuaded by John Morris, a friend of Stephen Price, that he needed an efficient acting manager, and Stephen Price was thereupon employed at a salary of £1200 per annum to make up for Thomas Bish’s total lack of experience in all things connected with a playhouse. However, Thomas Bish resigned his post and Stephen Price became the sole leaseholder of Drury Lane. Stephen Price signed the lease, for seven or 14 years, and he was about to return to New York for a few months, so he gave James E. Wallack all the powers as agent. [34-79] The first season under Wallack’s management brought a profit of four or five thousand pounds. During the holidays both Wallack and Price travelled the province in search of actors to recruit. [34-80] However, the time came when the theatre ran into trouble:

The Gentleman‘s Magazine And Monthly American Review, Vol. 4, Philadelphia, 1839, page 81.
The Gentleman‘s Magazine And Monthly American Review, Vol. 4, Philadelphia, 1839, page 81. [34-81]

In fact, Price had to resign the lease in the month of January, in the very heart of the season, 1830. … It is impossible to account satisfactorily for the failure of Mr. Price‘s management; he was well supported by the public, and the small sum for which he failed, placed in opposition to the profits of the two first years of his term, are convincing proofs that the losses were not materially heavy. He returned to New York, but soon revisited England, and liquidated all claims against him in full, notwithstanding he had been secured from annoyance by the certificate awarded him without a demur. Mr. Wallack was again sent for by the sub-committee, and requested to work the theatre till the end of season. He did so, and with such success that they carried the season beyond the usual number of nights.” [34-81]

So we see that Stephen Price was a man of honour who paid his debts even though he was officially exempt. A true gentleman.

The epicurean

Fraser‘s Magazine For Town And Country. Vol. 64. London, 1862. Page 45-48.
Fraser‘s Magazine For Town And Country. Vol. 64. London, 1862. Page 45-48. [35-45] [35-46] [35-47] [35-48]

Another episode from Stephen Price’s life reported by Fraser’s Magazine: “Another writer of newspapers with whom I became acquainted in 1827, was the late Horace Twiss. I was first introduced to him in March, 1827, in a committee-room of the House of Commons, of which he was then a member … I have heard men say who lived in daily habits of familiarity with Twiss, which I never did, that he was the largest feeder in the House of Commons, with the exception of the late Sir Robert Peel, and the largest feeder in England, with the exception of the late Lord Cottenham and Stephen Price, the Yankee patentee of Drury Lane Theatre. I once made myself a short sea excursion with Twiss and Stephen Price, who were sworn friends. I well remember that on this occasion the pair enjoyed for lunch a small chicken turbot, with lobster sauce, and a small shoulder of lamb, with dressed salad, at half-past one, and that both dined sumptuously afterwards, at seven, on turtle and venison. It is true we had been seven or eight hours at sea; but making all due allowance for invigorating and appetizing breezes, the performance of these remarkable diners-out was a wondrous feat in what Rabelais or Montaigne, I forget which, calls ‘la science de la gueule‘, or, as a pedant would say, gulosity.” [35-45] [35-46] [35-47] [35-48]


Stephen Price’s eccentric nature is reported in 1849. He was, it is said, a man of peculiar and eccentric character, and some of his traits, and not the most favourable, are preserved in Mr. Poole’s sketch of the “Pangrowlion Club.” His habits, they say, though not all, were well adapted to the freedom, equality and fraternity of such a society. For example, he would stroll around the Coffee Room in heavy, creaky boots, his eyes roving in search of a young member to discuss his lonely cotlett: [36-261]

R. H. Dalton Barham: The Life and Remains of Theodore Edward Hook. Vol. 1. London, 1849, page 262.
R. H. Dalton Barham: The Life and Remains of Theodore Edward Hook. Vol. 1. London, 1849, page 262. [36-262]

“What have you got there, sir?” he would ask, plunging a fork into the questionable viand, and holding it up, to the indignation of the proprietor, “D‘ye mean to say you can eat this thing? Waiter! d‘ye call this a chop fit to set before a gentleman? Take it away, sir, and bring the gentleman another.” On one occasion his gratuitous supervision was happily anticipated. “You need not to trouble yourself, Price,” exclaimed a diner, on seeing him enter the room, and throw an inquiring glance upon the table which he was occupying – “I have got,” and he held up his plate,”„a broiled fowl, much burned into parts, underdone in others, and no mushrooms!” [36-262]

The “transatlantic beverage”

R. H. Dalton Barham: The Life and Remains of Theodore Edward Hook. Vol. 1. London, 1849, page 263.
R. H. Dalton Barham: The Life and Remains of Theodore Edward Hook. Vol. 1. London, 1849, page 263. [36-263]

We continue to read: – „Mr. Price was an American by birth, and a proficient, it is said, in the national accomplishment – duelling; in this country he was more favourably known as a bon vivant of taste, and a giver of bachelor dinners of a high order; he was, moreover, the first promulgator of one of those Transatlantic beverages, which are justly the admiration of the curious. It is a species of punch, in which gin, maraschino, and iced soda water, are blended in a certain occult and scientific way, and is esteemed of sovereign worth in very hot weather, or in cases where an obstinate and unaccountable thirst has somehow survived the repeated efforts made to quench it the preceding day.“ [36-263]

So according to this article, Stephen Price’s Punch originated in the United States, as it is described as a transatlantic drink. However, this will have to be investigated further, also in connection with the Collins – and will probably prove to be untrue.

First, however, let us return to the other people mentioned in connection with the Garrick Club Punch – Theodore Hook and Thomas Hill.

Theodore Hook

Theodore Hook, 1839.
Theodore Hook, 1839. [16]

Theodore Hook, born 1788 and died 1841 was a member of the Garrick Club. He was considered a playboy and was an English journalist, novelist and composer. For a short time he was also a civil servant in Mauritius. He was considered one of the most brilliant persons of his time and was praised as a genius comparable to Dante Alighieri. Incidentally, he received the world’s first postcard with a picture in 1840, probably sent by himself. [19] [20] [21] [38-35]

Theodore Hook was probably the main jester of the Garrick Club, who immediately came to everyone’s mind when the club was mentioned. He was characterised as cheerful and irresistible, spontaneous and original. His best things, however, were not spoken things, for his principle was “we’ll do it in action”. However, these were not “practical jokes” as they were called, but played humour. [39-21] He is credited with inventing the Garrick Club Gin Punch, but this is not true. [39-22]

Thomas Hill

Thomas Hill.
Thomas Hill. [26]

Thomas Hill was well known and loved in the world of literature and especially theatre. He was a bon vivant and a member of the Garrick Club and was well versed in all things that went on in all circles, be they mercantile, political, fashionable, literary or theatrical. He was born in Lancester in May 1760, came to London and settled in Queenhithe, a London district on the Thames, as a dealer in chemical products such as glues, varnishes and dyes. Alongside this, however, he found time to develop a taste for literature and built up a very fine collection of old books, mainly volumes of poetry. In his house in Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, but even more in his country house in Sydenham, he gathered the most brilliant minds, poets, actors, playwrights and other geniuses of his time. His hospitality was praised by everyone. He supported the poets Bloomfield and Kirke White and founded “The Monthly Mirror”, which brought him into frequent contact with poets of drama, actors and theatre managers. About 1810 he lost much money in a speculation in indigo, gave up his business, and retired to his chambers at the Adelphi. He died there on 20 December 1841, aged 81. He possessed an unshakable serenity, was kind and generous in the days of his wealth, and even in old age maintained his cheerfulness in the face of comparative poverty. [22-264] [22-265] [23] [24] [25-86] [25-87] [25-88] [37] [38-34]

The Garrick Club Punch

David Wondrich says Stephen Price’s gin punch was something new. Soda was known, and iced punch would have had a great reputation, but no one seemed to have thought of making a punch with soda before, quite the opposite. Soda would have been a popular remedy for a hangover, in a sense an antidote for a punch, but not its companion. [1-206]

Oxford by Day and Night. The Monthly Magazine. Vol. 22, 1836. Page 491.
Oxford by Day and Night. The Monthly Magazine. Vol. 22, 1836. Page 491. [44-491]

This understanding is evident, for example, in the poem entitled “Oxford, by Day and Night”, published in 1836. There it says at the end: “The spiritual medicine too
With which you fight off ills to come
Is brandy, whiskey, gin, or rum!
Head-ache, and heart-burn, proudly scorning.
What can such God-like youths affright;
For if you’re feverish in the morning,
Why soda water sets you right.[44-491]

According to David Wondrich, it is not known whether Stephen Price brought his punch recipe from New York to London or whether he first developed it in London. In any case, it spread quickly and pretty much everywhere after publication in The Quarterly Review. By using carbonated soda water, it marks the transition between a punch and a modern long drink. [1-207]

Where did the gin punch with soda water originate?

We believe that a gin-punch with soda water did not originate in New York or the United States. Such a thing was unknown there long after it was published in The Quarterly Review. As we will see with the Collins, there are numerous American sources that speak of the Collins being clearly an English invention. Such a drink was not previously known in the United States. Since the Garrick Club Punch is basically nothing other than a kind of Collins, it cannot have been generally known there, nor could it have originated there. We have found no American source that suggests that such a thing was drunk there in the 1830s or before, let alone that Stephen Price was already famous for it there. Everything suggests that he first developed his recipe in London.

R. H. Dalton Barham wrote in 1849 that the punch prepared by Stephen Price was a “transatlantic beverage” [36-263] – which may mean that it originated in the USA. But perhaps he only meant to express that it was drunk on both sides of the Atlantic. Undoubtedly, however, it seems to have been Stephen Price’s “invention” to prepare a punch with soda water instead of normal water. Such a punch had no tradition in England and apparently no one had come up with the idea before him. This drink received the “admiration of the curious[36-263] – o one must have been somewhat daring to try this kind of punch. This kind of punch had been around at least since the recipe was first published in 1835, and it quickly appeared in many English publications.

About Clubs and Clubmen. The New York Times, 24. July 1904.
About Clubs and Clubmen. The New York Times, 24. July 1904. [43]

Also in 1904, in a report in the New York Times, the mixture is considered an English invention: “The revival of English drinks at many of the clubs does not speak well for the cocktail which is slowly going out of fashion. … Gin in many cases is taking the place of whisky, and is used in both the American compounds, such as rickeys and Remsen coolers and in English mixtures. The famous gin punch, which has been a standard drink at the Garrick Club in London, is used here a great deal this Summer. It was actually invented by an American by the name of Stephen Price, who was lessee of the Drury Lane Theatre. It was first heard of in July, 1835, and the famous Theodore Hook is credited with having partaken of six jugs of it at a sitting, and then going to Lord Canterbury’s. It is really the foundation of many of the gin compounds, and is said to have been a favorite beverage among the old Dutch gentlemen in New York in Colonial days. A half pint of gin is poured over the outer peel of a lemon, then a litttle lemon juice, a glass of maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda water are poured into the jug.” [43]

Which gin to use?

David Wondrich makes a point about the gin used. He thinks that the gin mentioned in The Quarterly Review could have been either a genever or an Old Tom gin. Personally, he leans towards an Old Tom gin, on the grounds that Stephen Price was from New York and an Old Tom gin was preferred there. [1-207] Unfortunately, David Wondrich does not provide any reliable sources for his assumption. However, this much can be said: After a thorough consideration, one can only come to the conclusion that it is not so obvious and that there are justified and considerable doubts that Genever or Old Tom are the original ingredients. Indeed, it is much more likely to have been an unsweetened English gin. But this statement is based on a detailed analysis of historical sources and will be documented in a separate post. After all, David Wondrich also states that Stephen Price was an Anglophile and that English gin was on its way to dominate the English market. [1-207]

Moreover, the question of whether to use Old Tom Gin or Dry Gin is actually moot. Since lemon juice is used as an ingredient, it is necessary to balance its acidity with sugar. When using an Old Tom, you will need a little less additional sugar than with a Dry Gin. However, much speaks for the use of an unsweetened gin. This was more expensive, but of far better quality, as it was not mixed with numerous additives in order to achieve a higher yield. One may assume that the upper class – and this is where we are moving with the Garrick Club Punch – could and wanted to afford the more expensive and better gin. In this context, an advertisement in The Cambrian from 1843 is also interesting. It states:

The Cambrian, 13. May 1843, page 2. Advertisement for strong unsweetened gin for mixing.
The Cambrian, 13. May 1843, page 2. Advertisement for strong unsweetened gin for mixing. [28]

HAINES and CUMMING BEG to call the attention of the Nobility, Gentry, and Public in general, to their present choice of well-selected STOCK of WINES and SPIRITS, which cannot be surpassed for QUALITY and PRICE by any other Establishment in the kingdom.

In it, an unsweetened gin is advertised for the preparation of mixed drinks. [28]

Why soda water and water?

However, it is interesting to ask why not only soda but also normal water was used in the preparation of the Garrick Punch. Was this for economic reasons? Taste reasons? Health reasons? Certainly not the former, because there was enough money in the club. In any case, we do not know the reason and have not been able to find any sources that could answer this question. Perhaps someone of our readers has an inspiration? We would be pleased to hear about it. By the way, it is also interesting that the Garrick Club Punch was apparently prepared and served without ice cubes. There is no mention of such a thing.

The connection between the Garrick Club Punch and lemonade

It is interesting to note the footnote in a book published in 1838 which informs us that soda water flavoured with lemon syrup could be obtained anywhere. [27-77] Around the same time, the Garrick Club Punch was also created. It can therefore be understood as a combination of fizzy lemonade and traditional gin punch.


So what exactly were the quantities used for the individual ingredients of the Garrick Club Punch? Let’s remember the original specifications once again: “Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little lemon-juice, sugar, a glass of Maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda-water. The result will be three pints of the punch in question.” [3-472]

The conversion is not quite easy without further information: an imperial pint corresponds to about 569 ml, [46] but how much is a wine glass, what was the content of a soda bottle? David Wondrich states that soda bottles came in two different sizes, one with a 6 ounce capacity, but also with a 10 ounce capacity. An imperial ounce is equal to one-twentieth of a pint, or about 28.4 ml. [46] How much the quantity of a wine glass is, one can only speculate. The deviations are considerable, as we found out in our study on volumetric quantities. So there is a lot of room for interpretation. David Wondrich suggests the following quantities: 10 oz. Gin, 2 oz. Maraschino, 25 oz. Water, 20 oz. Soda water, 3 oz. Lemon juice, 1 oz. sugar. Personally, he prefers ice in addition, so he reduces the water content by 10 to 15 oz. and instead of the remaining water he also uses soda water. He also suggests lightly muddling the lemon peel with sugar and maraschino. [1-207] [1-208]Inspired by this punch, people started to prepare gin punches with soda water. The classic gin punch evolved from the Garrick Club Punch to the Collins. This probably happened at Limmer’s Hotel, which will be the subject of the next post in this series.

  1. David Wondrich: Punch. The Delight (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. ISBN 978-0-399-53616-8. November 2010.
  2. David Wondrich: Imbibe! 2. Auflage. ISBN 978-0-399-53287-0. 2017.
  3. https://archive.org/details/dli.bengal.10689.20025/page/n479 The Quarterly Review, February 1836.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Walker_(author) Thomas Walker (author).
  5. https://archive.org/details/original02walkgoog/page/n332 Thomas Walker: The Original. No. XXI. London, 7. October 1835.
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Price_(theatre_manager) Stephen Price (theatre manager).
  7. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britisch-Amerikanischer_Krieg Britisch-Amerikanischer Krieg.
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_Royal,_Drury_Lane Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
  9. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatre_Royal_Drury_Lane Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_Theatre_(Manhattan) Park Theatre (Manhattan).
  11. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:First_Park_Theatre;_Corner-stone_of_Park_Theatre,_presented_at_%22Windust%27s.%22_(NYPL_Hades-254341-EM13362).tiff First Park Theatre; Corner-stone of Park Theatre, presented at “Windust’s.”
  12. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Second_Park_Theatre,_1830_(NYPL_Hades-254343-EM13364)_cropped.jpg View of Park Row and the second Park Theatre, Manhattan, New York City, 1830.
  13. https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=707031001&objectId=3225904&partId=1 Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. View from the street showing the corner of the building and the entrance to the theatre; elegantly dressed figures queuing outside and on pavement in foreground to right, carriages on left and right. 1828 Steel engraving.
  14. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Theatre_Royal_Drury_Lane_prize_distribution.jpg Prize distribution of the Art Union of London in the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
  15. https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=1613146111&objectId=3731575&partId=1: Stephen Price Esq. Portrait; short half-length seated to left, glancing towards the viewer, wearing a dark suit, the coat open, and a dark cravat around a wing collar; after Clint; scratched open-letter state. 1836.
  16. https://research.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=1613034431&objectId=3663630&partId=1 Portrait of Theodore Hook, half-length to left. 1839 Stipple and engraving.
  17. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrick_Club Garrick Club.
  18. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garrick_Club Garrick Club.
  19. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Hook Theodore Hook.
  20. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Hook Theodore Hook.
  21. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postcard Postcard.
  22. https://archive.org/details/clublifeoflondon01timbuoft/page/264 John Timbs: Club life of London, with anecdotes of the clubs, coffee-houses and taverns of the metropolis during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Vol. 1. London, Richard Bentley, 1866.
  23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drysalter Drysalter.
  24. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queenhithe Queenhithe.
  25. https://archive.org/details/bentleysmiscella09dickuoft Bentley’s Miscellany. Vol. IX. London, Richard Bentley, 1841.
  26. https://archive.org/stream/bentleysmiscella09dickuoft#page/86/mode/2up Bentley’s Miscellany. Vol. IX. London, Richard Bentley, 1841. Between page 86 and 87.
  27. https://archive.org/details/b21526102/page/77 John Timbs: Hints for the table: or, the economy of good living. London, Simkin, Marshall, and Co., 1838.
  28. https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3330585/3330587/9/ The Cambrian. Swansea, 13. May 1843, page 2.
  29. https://fultonhistory.com/highlighter/highlight-for-xml?altUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FNewspaper%252018%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Press%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Press%25201910%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Press%25201910%2520-%25201583.pdf%23xml%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FdtSearch%2Fdtisapi6.dll%3Fcmd%3Dgetpdfhits%26u%3Dffffffffd77f4ed3%26DocId%3D2627704%26Index%3DZ%253a%255cDISK%2520E%26HitCount%3D4%26hits%3D3f2%2B3f3%2B3f4%2B3f5%2B%26SearchForm%3D%252fFulton%255fform%252ehtml%26.pdf&uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FNewspaper%252018%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Press%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Press%25201910%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Press%25201910%2520-%25201583.pdf&xml=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FdtSearch%2Fdtisapi6.dll%3Fcmd%3Dgetpdfhits%26u%3Dffffffffd77f4ed3%26DocId%3D2627704%26Index%3DZ%253a%255cDISK%2520E%26HitCount%3D4%26hits%3D3f2%2B3f3%2B3f4%2B3f5%2B%26SearchForm%3D%252fFulton%255fform%252ehtml%26.pdf&openFirstHlPage=false The New York Press, 17. April 1910, page 5.
  30. https://archive.org/details/literarygazette02munsgoog/page/n113?q=%22stephen+Price%22 und https://archive.org/details/literarygazette02fitzgoog/page/n114?q=%22stephen+Price%22 The Literary Gazette; And Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c., No. 1204. London, 15. February 1840.
  31. https://archive.org/details/ladiescompanion00unkngoog/page/n518?q=%22stephen+Price%22 und https://archive.org/details/ladiescompanion03unkngoog/page/n532?q=%22stephen+Price%22 The Ladies’ Companion. New York, February 1840.
  32. https://archive.org/details/theatricalbiogr00wemygoog/page/n84?q=%22stephen+Price%22 und https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.93040/page/n79?q=%22stephen+Price%22 Francis Courtney Wemyss: Theatrical Biography, Or, The Life of an Actor and Manager. Glasgow, R. Griffin & Co., 1848.
  33. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.33036/page/n291?q=%22stephen+Price%22 Thomas Allen: History And Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent. Vol. 4. London, Cowie and Strange, 1829.
  34. https://archive.org/details/gentlemansmagaz02poegoog/page/n86?q=%22stephen+Price%22 The Gentleman‘s Magazine And Monthly American Review. Vol. 4. Philadelphia, William E. Bourton, 1839. From page 76: Memoirs Of The Life And Theatrical Career Of James E. Wallack, part 2.
  35. https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_9l_PAAAAMAAJ/page/n49?q=%22stephen+Price%22 Fraser‘s Magazine For Town And Country. Vol. 64. London, Parker, Son And Bourn, 1862. Page 45-48.
  36. https://archive.org/details/lifeandremainst00barhgoog/page/n110?q=%22stephen+Price%22 R. H. Dalton Barham: The Life and Remains of Theodore Edward Hook. Vol. 1. London, Richard Bentley, 1849.
  37. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Hill,_Thomas_(1760-1840)_(DNB00) Hill, Thomas (1760-1840).
  38. https://archive.org/details/garrickclubnoti00ingogoog/page/n5 R. H. Barham: The Garric Club. Notices of One Hundred and Thirty-five of Its Former Members. 1896.
  39. https://archive.org/details/garrickclub00fitzuoft/page/22 Percy Fitzgerald, F.S.A.: The Garrick Club. London, Elliot Stock, 1904.
  40. https://archive.org/details/mirrorliteratur02limbgoog/page/n132?q=%22gin+punch%22 The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction. No. 764, 20. February 1836.
  41. https://archive.org/details/londonclubstheir00nevi/page/284 Ralph Nevill: London clubs : their history & treasures. New York, Frederick A. Stokes Company, [1911?]
  42. https://archive.org/details/memoirandletter12sumngoog/page/n27 Edward Lillie Pierce: Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner. Vol II, 1838-1845. Boston, Roberts Brothers, 1877.
  43. https://fultonhistory.com/highlighter/highlight-for-xml?altUrl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FNewspapers%25207%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Times%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Times%25201904%2520Jul%2520Grayscale%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Times%25201904%2520Jul%2520Grayscale%2520%2528484%2529.pdf%23xml%3Dhttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FdtSearch%2Fdtisapi6.dll%3Fcmd%3Dgetpdfhits%26u%3D204d24e%26DocId%3D821799%26Index%3DZ%253a%255cIndex%2520U%252dF%252dP%26HitCount%3D4%26hits%3D3c8%2B3c9%2B3ec%2B3ed%2B%26SearchForm%3D%252fFulton%255fform%252ehtml%26.pdf&uri=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FNewspapers%25207%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Times%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Times%25201904%2520Jul%2520Grayscale%2FNew%2520York%2520NY%2520Times%25201904%2520Jul%2520Grayscale%2520%2528484%2529.pdf&xml=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.fultonhistory.com%2FdtSearch%2Fdtisapi6.dll%3Fcmd%3Dgetpdfhits%26u%3D204d24e%26DocId%3D821799%26Index%3DZ%253a%255cIndex%2520U%252dF%252dP%26HitCount%3D4%26hits%3D3c8%2B3c9%2B3ec%2B3ed%2B%26SearchForm%3D%252fFulton%255fform%252ehtml%26.pdf&openFirstHlPage=false About Clubs and Clubmen. The New York Times, 24. July 1904, page (3?, 5?).
  44. https://archive.org/details/monthlymagazineo22lond/page/490?q=%22gin+punch%22 Oxford by Day and Night. In: The Monthly Magazine. Number 141. Volume 22. November 1836.
  45. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Lonsdale_(1777-1839)_-_Augustus,_Duke_of_Sussex_(1773-1843)_-_RCIN_407171_-_Royal_Collection.jpg Augustus, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843).
  46. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinte Pinte.

Historical recipes

1836 The Quarterly Review Februar 1836. https://archive.org/details/dli.bengal.10689.20025/page/n479 Seite 472. The gin punch made … at the Garrick Club.

Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little lemon-juice,
sugar, a glass of Maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles
of iced soda-water. The result will be three pints of the punch in question.

1836 (20. Februar) The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction. No. 764, 20. February 1836. Seite 125. Gin Punch. https://archive.org/details/mirrorliteratur02limbgoog/page/n132?q=%22gin+punch%22

Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a
lemon, then a little lemon-juice, sugar, a glass of
Maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and
two bottles of iced soda-water. The result will be
three pints of the punch in question.

1838 Hints for the table. Seite 111. Gin Punch. https://archive.org/details/b21526102/page/110?q=%22gin+punch%22

Summer gin punch is thus made at the Garrick Club.
Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon,
then a little lemon-juice, a glass of maraschino, about a
pint and a quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda-
water; and the result will be three pints of the punch in

1840 A New System of Domestic Cookery. Seite 461. Gin Punch. https://archive.org/details/b21531122/page/460?q=%22gin+punch%22

Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon;
add a little lemon-juice and sugar, a glass of mares-
chino, about a pint and a quarter of water, and two
bottles of iced soda-water.

1844 A New System of Domestic Cookery. Seite 221. Gin Punch. https://archive.org/details/anewsystemdomes04rundgoog/page/n221?q=%22gin+punch%22

Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon;
add a little lemon-juice and sugar, a glass of mareschino, about a pint and
a quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda-water.

1852 Abraham Hayward: The Art of Dining. Seite 120. Gin Punch. https://archive.org/details/b21526746/page/120

Pour half-a-pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little
lemon-juice, sugar, a glass of Maraschino, about a pint and a quarter
of water, and two bottles of iced soda-water. The result will be
three pints of the punch in question.

1862 Anonymus: One Thousand Hints for the Table. Seite 135. Gin Punch. https://books.google.de/books?id=vmbH7Wb_h1AC&pg=PA135&dq=%22gin+punch%22&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1yIaovNvmAhWSy6QKHdfZC0sQ6AEIYTAG#v=onepage&q=%22gin%20punch%22&f=false

Summer gin punch is thus made at the Garrick Club. Pour
half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon, then a little lemon-
juice, a glass of maraschino, about a pint and a quarter of water,
and two bottles of iced soda water; and the result will be three
pints of the punch in questio.

1862 Charles Elmé Francatelli: The royal English and foreign confectioner. Seite 335. Gin Punch. https://books.google.de/books?id=0MkBAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA335&dq=%22gin+punch%22&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj1yIaovNvmAhWSy6QKHdfZC0sQ6AEITjAE#v=onepage&q=%22gin%20punch%22&f=false

To half a pint of genuine old gin add one gill of
maraschino, the juice of two lemons, the rind of one
(previously infused in the gin), one and a half gill of
strong syrup, and a quart bottle of seltzer water. Ice
the punch for one hour

1864 Anonymus: The English and Australian Cookery Book. Seite 277. Gin Punch. https://archive.org/details/b28073812/page/276?q=%22Gin+Punch%22

Pour half a pint of gin on the outer peel of a lemon,
then a little lemon-juice, sugar, a glass of maraschino, about a pint and a
quarter of water, and two bottles of iced soda-water. The result will be
three pints of punch.
“The Art of Dining” days that the gin punch made on the above principle at the
Garrick Club was one of the best things known, and that it was a favorite beverage of
the late Theodore Hook; while Basil Hall has it that good whisky punch is the most
insinuating and the most loving of tipples. If another authority is wanted, Burke, on
one occasion, spiritually exclaimed, „I for one stand up for gin.

1869 William Terrington: Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks. Seite 219. Gin Punch à la Garrick.

Rub the ambrosial
essence of 1 lemon on a 2 oz. lump of loaf-
sugar, which dissolve in the juice of same; add 1/2
pint of gin, wine-glass full of Maraschino, pint of
shaven ice, and 2 bottles of soda-water.

Note: We have not recorded any further finds after 1869.

explicit capitulum


Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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